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Loving Without Losing Yourself

By Allie Ochs, Relationship Expert, Coach

Reprinted with permission.

You are in love and this time it is different. You areprepared to do anything to make it last. To prevent this ship from sinking youwork hard to steer this relationship into a safe harbor. In the process youlose yourself and your romantic relationship becomes all-consuming!

Kyra fell head-over-heels for Dan and went out of her wayto create a wonderful relationship. Shefound herself at hockey games, at parties with his friends and on vacationswith his family. At home, things werenot much different. Kyra cooked hisfavorite meals, kept house the way he wanted and listened to music of hischoice. On Dan's advice, she cut herhair short, wore less make-up and a conservative wardrobe. For Dan, this relationship was perfect. Shehad adapted to his lifestyle, defended his views and even began to talk likehim. Kyra's friends witnessed her changefrom a spirited and happy woman to a subdued and pleasing personality. This relationship had sucked the life out ofKyra, yet she was the last to notice.

While compromise in a relationship is necessary, denyingthe core of who you are is not. When you finally realize that an all-consuming relationship is depleting you, there willbe nothing left but resentment. It willbe difficult to reclaim yourself while remaining in that samerelationship. The outcome of such arelationship is usually a heart-breaking crisis, with no one but you to blame.

The opposite of an all-consuming relationship is ahalf-hearted relationship. In thisrelationship one or both withhold affection until the evidence is in that theother is hooked. I love you, if you loveme first has become a Fearing that you will give more love than youreceive, you put your partner on probation. You judge according to yourexpectations and keep track of his or her scores. The higher the scores, the more you arewilling to love. This conditional viewcreates tremendous emotional insecurity.

All-consuming or halfhearted relationships are unhealthy andboth types are guided by fear. In anall-consuming relationship, fear of not being loved is the driving force. In a halfhearted relationship, fear of beinghurt prevents you from knocking down protective walls. To you lovewholeheartedly without losing yourself requires a very different perspective ofrelationships. Even though you know thatrelationships require work, deep down you cling to a sweet illusion thatmeeting the right person is all it takes. You will then take off on your magic carpet ride. Think again! Soon that magic rug will bepulled from underneath you.

If you long for a partner who is wholeheartedly behindyou, ask yourself, are you the same partner? Do you give what you seek in your relationship? Ironically, many lack the qualities they seekin their partners. Listen to your heartand when it feels right, feel the fear and love anyway. Love without hesitation and with all youheart. Don?t let your fear of rejectionor getting hurt kill your desires or steal your dreams. You may have stared in the face of lovebefore. Maybe you ?chickened-out. Next time, don?t be a chicken!

Love is choice and if you choose it wholeheartedly, youare never going to lose it. Love teachesyou to become a better human being. Restore your faith in love and become emotionally available to eachother. Put your fears and your pastbehind you. Become lovable by being loving. Learn to trust by trusting yourself. Here is the number one reason for losing yourself in a relationship: Yourbelief that love is something you either deserve or not! This misguided belief leads you to do almostanything to get love and even more to hold onto it:

  • You modify your identity to gain approval from your partner.
  • You hold back intimacy to protect yourself.
  • You have a need to manipulate your partner.

If you can believe that there is nothing you have to beor do to earn love, you will accept that:

  • You can be loved even if you are not perfect
  • You can be loved while keeping your course in life
  • You can be loved without getting lost in love

Love is the most powerful human lesson you will everlearn. It is a purposefulinterdependence through which you become so much more than on your own. Love is not something to be found, rather itis in you to share. Don't turn your backon love every time it touches you, because when you give up on love you give upon yourself.

(c) 2005-2013 Allie Ochs is a speaker, relationship coach and authorof: Are You Fit To Love? Her book hasreceived the honorable mention at the USA 2004 Best Book Awards. She has appeared on TV, Radio and ispublished in numerous magazines and newsletters.

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